“Congress must come together to safeguard and strengthen the right to vote, which is the bedrock of our democracy.”
The legitimacy of our democracy depends on our free and fair elections. Recent actions by foreign adversaries as well as by elected officials nationwide threaten both the integrity of our election systems and the voting rights of American citizens. We are seeing incidents of purges of eligible voters from the rolls, misinformation campaigns, restrictions to voting by mail and requirements for voter IDs, creating significant burdens to voting, especially for communities of color. These tactics are enabled by the Supreme Court’s regrettable 2013 Shelby County decision to gut the Voting Rights Act,whichhad worked successfully for decades to reduce racial discrimination in voting.
I authored two provisions that were included in the 2021 Freedom to Vote Act and the For the People Act: the Democracy Restoration Act and the Deceptive Practices and Voter Intimidation Prevention Act, to make elections a more fair process for all citizens. The Democracy Restoration Act, would help former felons regain their right to vote after they return to their communities. The Deceptive Practices and Voter Intimidation Prevention Act would combat misinformation campaigns that deter minority communities from voting in elections.
Currently, the filibuster is being exploited by individual senators to stop progress on voting rights and other legislation. The Senate rules need to change or we will not be able to pass essential voting rights legislation. Every citizen, no matter race, party or zip code deserves an equal say in our elections.
Congress also needs to act to overturn the disastrous decision of the Supreme Court in the Citizens United case, which opened the door for special interests and corporate America to have an oversized influence over our political system. We can’t let dark money drown out the voices of everyday Americans. The power of our democracy belongs to the people – not corporations, not the wealthy elite. Congress should act – either by legislation or constitutional amendment – to overturn this Court decision to restore faith in and defend our free and fair electoral system.